Preparing for a Big Moment
After the dedication and hard work have paid off, leaders and performers sometimes get the chance to showcase their skills and talents on a larger stage and in a bigger moment.
Giving the keynote presentation, playing in the championship game, planning the pinnacle event, facilitating the critical meeting, making the final decision, starting in the critical contest, hosting the grand party, competing in the bake-off.
Big moments are both exciting and nerve-wracking.
Because big moments don’t come along very often, most leaders and performers are unfamiliar with the pressure, hyper-focus, and intensity they often produce. As the moment approaches, the need to prepare becomes paramount.
No one wants to underperform at precisely the wrong time. So it seems natural to rehearse, prepare and game-plan for the big moment in a way that reflects the tremendous opportunity it affords. Unfortunately, this is the wrong strategy and often submarines the ability to perform at the highest level.
By preparing and planning differently for the big moment, leaders and performers magnify the pressure and stress that the fear of underperforming creates. Doing things differently for the big moment throws off the rhythm and process that earned the big moment in the first place. Designing new strategies and tactics designed just for the big moment leaves little time to practice and create the skills and repetition essential to high performance.
Speak with those leaders and performers who have excelled in many big moments and they will give you the counter-intuitive advice that will save your performance and allow you to soar.
Prepare as you would for any game, contest, or presentation.
Avoid the distraction of new ideas and people. Stick with the fundamental planning and preparation that got you to the dance. Tell yourself this is just another day of focused execution, just like the ones that created the opportunity.
The advice of two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning to any quarterback preparing for the big show: “Keep your routine as close to the same as possible as you have all season.” That’s how to best leaders and performers overcome the jitters, anxiety, and distraction that undercut high performance.
The big moment shouldn’t be anything more special than all the other moments that got you there. That tells your brain and the team to relax, settle in and execute. Big moments are just moments. Now execute.